Read Colossians 4
4 Masters, provide your slaves with what is right and fair, because you know that you also have a Master in heaven.
2 Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. 3 And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. 4 Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. 5 Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. 6 Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.
7 Tychicus will tell you all the news about me. He is a dear brother, a faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord. 8 I am sending him to you for the express purpose that you may know about our circumstances and that he may encourage your hearts. 9 He is coming with Onesimus, our faithful and dear brother, who is one of you. They will tell you everything that is happening here.
10 My fellow prisoner Aristarchus sends you his greetings, as does Mark, the cousin of Barnabas. (You have received instructions about him; if he comes to you, welcome him.) 11 Jesus, who is called Justus, also sends greetings. These are the only Jews among my co-workers for the kingdom of God, and they have proved a comfort to me. 12 Epaphras, who is one of you and a servant of Christ Jesus, sends greetings. He is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured. 13 I vouch for him that he is working hard for you and for those at Laodicea and Hierapolis. 14 Our dear friend Luke, the doctor, and Demas send greetings. 15 Give my greetings to the brothers and sisters at Laodicea, and to Nympha and the church in her house.
16 After this letter has been read to you, see that it is also read in the church of the Laodiceans and that you in turn read the letter from Laodicea.
17 Tell Archippus: “See to it that you complete the ministry you have received in the Lord.”
18 I, Paul, write this greeting in my own hand. Remember my chains. Grace be with you.
In the last chapter of Colossians, Paul gives final reminders and encouragement. His letter encourages his readers to continue in faith and remember the truth of the gospel. At its core, it is Gospel centered, reminding us that Jesus’ death and resurrection has allowed us to live in freedom. In everything we do, we are to remember this truth and live it out.
In chapter 4, Paul closes by emphasizing the importance of persistent prayer. Like Epaphras, we are to “wrestle” in prayer, imploring God to empower our fellow believers to stand firm in their faith. We are supposed to pray for others’ salvation, that God would soften their hearts and draw them into a relationship with Him. The prayers that we pray over people are powerful. 1 John 5:14 assures us that God hears our prayers. And paired with that, we are also called to pray for fellow believers and ourselves, that we might boldly share the gospel and say yes to the opportunities the Lord places before us. We are first to get on our knees, but then we are called to go. Verse 5 says we are to “walk in wisdom toward outsiders,” emphasizing the importance of meeting with the lost and broken.
While all of this is important, it is easy to read this passage and gloss over these words rather than be moved to action by them. We know the power of prayer and the mission that God has called us to, yet so often we push it aside in our daily routine. We are ruled by busyness and fear, letting the belief that “someone else will do it” prevent us from talking to the lost around us. We hide behind excuses, and in doing this, we diminish the gospel. After accepting the Gospel, we ourselves are called to go. Jesus has already gone before us, and the Holy Spirit speaks to us and guides us. Let us not forget the power of that truth. The Gospel is always new and powerful, so let us pray that we remember that truth today!
- What stood out to you the most in chapter 4? What did you find encouraging? What challenged you?
- Reread verse 12. What does this verse say about prayer? Does your prayer life look like this? How can you take steps towards praying more like Epaphras?
- Spend some time reflecting on your thoughts from this book, and think of what you want to remember from it.
By the Way
In verse 6, when talking about our speech, Paul says it should be “seasoned with salt,” which mirrors closely Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:13: “You are the salt of the earth.” What are you doing to “season” your words and preserve God’s influence in our world today?
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